# GMAT RC strategies

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## RC Strategies

This is probably the toughest verbal part for some people largely due to timing issues. The strategy that helps is the following: read the first and last paragraphs of the passage very carefully, rephrasing each sentence in your head and making sure that you understand what it is that the author is trying to convey. Read 1-2 sentences in other paragraphs to visualize the structure of the paragraph, e.g. OK, the 1st paragraph claims X, the 2nd says it’s not necessarily so, the 3rd says that in majority cases the X still holds true, and the final paragraph concludes that although X happens 99% of the time, it’s foolish to think that X is always bound to happen. Knowing the structure of the paragraph allows you to answer the general “tone of the author” and “the main idea” questions. So basically by using this strategy, you will be capable of answering the 50% of RC questions easily.

While reading the 1-2 sentences in the beginning of each paragraph, scan the rest of the text in between, looking out for the keywords such as names, dates, and other stand-out words. When you encounter an inference or a detailed question, you will know exactly where to go in the paragraph. You might ask why is this a time-saver if you have to go back and read the text again. Well, the truth is that even if you carefully read the text the first time around, GMAT’s inference/support questions are so detailed that most of the time you will have to go back to read the lines anyway. If you didn’t waste time on reading them the first time around, you will end up actually saving some time for yourself.

Another tip: don’t get intimidated by the technical terminology that you are not familiar with. Most native speakers would know nothing of a COX-3 inhibitor or some complex word you encounter in the text. Just try to rephrase the term into something you can understand or worst comes to worst, substitute the unfamiliar word for something you know, a.k.a. “turnip” = “tulip” and move on. GMAT is not ever going to ask you what turnip means. It might, however, ask you what it’s used for or where it was first found which you would know! Do not take more than 2 minutes per question when you practice. If you have a paragraph with 7 questions, do not take more than 14 minutes on reading and answering the questions. If you have 3 questions, do not take more than 6 minutes on the entire thing, etc.

Always learn the concepts first. Take as much time to learn them as you need. Buy all the books you have to buy but build a solid base first. Then practice, practice and practice in a timed setting. You will “feel” when you have to mark a choice and move on very soon and thus will have fewer issues with time management. You will find out that SCs are real time-savers. If you practice enough, you will be able to do most of the SCs in under 1 minute. It might sound crazy but it’s true. Create an error log. After a while you will be able to see the pattern of the mistakes you make and the areas you make them in. The error log will be your best teacher! Do participate in the forum discussions. You will “meet” a lot of smart people and learn from them.